We first saw Castor Oil plants (Ricinus communis) in India, growing luxuriantly tall on wasteland. These plants with glossy leaves, deeply lobed on long stalks, have been used in bedding out for many decades. They’re popular again in the red cultivars now available. For the past 10 years we’ve grown these (green) architectural plants. Whilst they’re perennials they’re also tender, so don’t survive in the UK. The seeds are contained in a shiny green to reddish spiny capsule, and whilst the seed (often called a bean, which it is not) is used to produce Castor Oil, the raw seed is highly poisonous!
Tucked away among our thousands of trees is a Hermitage where Simon the Hermits lives. When approached he’s a friendly chap and will cheerfully show you round his Hermitage and adjacent Shell Grotto. Having lived in the valley at Bocombe, as he says “since before time began”, he’s very knowledgeable about the Mystery of St Bocombe, and the rest of the world!
Visit the gardens at Bocombe Mill Cottage to explore what many an Estate owner in the 18th century paid handsomely for – a live Hermit! Check Simon out here,